Bob Weir and Ratdog
To start, I am not a smoker, and I won’t give anyone a hard time for choosing to smoke. I can’t say that I was all that bummed when smoking was banned at our local hooch parlors. I do, however, believe that there should be some exceptions to the smoking ban. This hadn’t ever occurred to me before I was sitting with my wife at the Depot at the Bob Weir show being choked out by some incredible body odor. Yeah, BO is a naturally occurring phenomenon at shows, but when it already smells like post-show body funk during my pre-show drink, we have a problem. There is also something to be said about any show involving a former member of the Grateful Dead that does not allow smoking.
As soon as Bob Weir and his band, Ratdog, took the stage, they popped directly into their jam session. Fifteen-minute musical increments were separated by occasional breaks, which I’m guessing were more for the crowd, because these guys seemed primed and ready to go all night. Bob Weir, one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, did throw the occasional lyric in every once in a while, but he was more focused on what seemed like an experiment in bending space and time with his guitar. Cranking along, the band brought a much louder blues sound than I was anticipating. Jeff Chimenti really stuck out with some great work on the keyboard. His chords occasionally rang out above everything else adding a heavenly element that really grabbed my attention.
Any great jam band comes with a great jam band following, and I had a prime spot to watch some pretty incredible dance moves. To my left some dude seemed to be doing a pretty impressive monster mash, side-to-side type of thing, turning his body at the same awkward angle and lifting his right arm into a t-rex formation that lasted the entire show. Directly in front of me was the arms-flailing-and-kicking-his-legs-in-the-air guy, who came dangerously close to accidentally punching everyone around him in the face (including yours truly). I don’t have any room to talk because I’m the stand-around-and-bend-my-knees-to-the-music guy—probably the most awkward crowd member of all.
Setting the stage for any aspiring boys and girls who would like to have a jam band all their own, Bob Weir and Ratdog demonstrated that it takes more than psychedelics to get a room moving. It takes creativity, years of really, really long jam sessions, and well… psychedelics.
Bob Weir & Ratdog @ The Depot
By Ben Trentelman [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Bob Weir and Ratdog